Stomach tattoo + pregnancy = ???

Guest post by Julia Demarast

juliabefore“What!? I’m pregnant! …but what about my tattoo?

Ok, this was not my first thought, but as a bellydancer, it was an unavoidable one. Three of my seven member dance troupe were pregnant simultaneously, and we took the opportunity to film a pre-natal belly dance DVD. Watching the video, I noticed the tattoo that surrounded my belly button was growing – ACK! What did this mean? Would it be skewed two inches to the left or would the lines blur to become a big black blob?

For someone deeply committed to a dance form where a bare mid-section is fundamental, you might say I was a little concerned…

juliaafterLike most things with birth, the mix of genetics, age, and health all affect the post-baby ink.

I religiously smeared the creams and oils on my skin and tried to keep my body moving with the hope that it would retain some semblance of my pre-baby body. Lucky for me I was surrounded by tattooed moms who’s bellies and tattoos had survived the experience.

My son Cedar decided to arrive two weeks late via C-Section and just shy of 10 pounds. My tattoo had doubled in size and I was sure it would never be the same.

…Truth be told, it’s not. Yes, the tattoo shrunk back to the same size and shape after a few months of nursing and exercise. But there are a few stretch marks and a scar to accompany it. Both serve as a reminder of the experience … and act as an excellent excuse for more tattoos!

Comments on Stomach tattoo + pregnancy = ???

  1. Great article! My side tattoo stretched out for nine and ten lb babies and came back just fine. If it were around my belly button, it would have been marked by my stretch marks there. I'd like to see more dancers showing off their beautiful, post-baby, mama bellies. Be not afraid, dancers!

    Also, why must every magazine pregnant mama be stretch mark free? I wanna see some stretch marks on those round bellies! It's normal for many of us, not matter how much belly cream we apply.
    Aly

  2. Oh man. i have three tattoos on my stomach and was petrified that they would be demolished because of my pregnancy. i'm 37 weeks and they don't look too stretched out, but i'm still a little worried about when they spring back. it's already not as bad as i thought so i'm just trying to stay positive. Unfortunately, i have one right about the spot that a c-section is usually performed, so i'm crossing my fingers that i don't need one!

  3. I have an upper abdominal tattoo that stretched VERY ODDLY during pregnancy – it elongated a lot and became narrow. (pic here of the fresh tat, it's located just between and below my breasts: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v420/jemonck/Mi… and I'm happy to say that it bounced back perfectly. It's accessorized by a few more stretch marks, but I wear those as proudly as I do the tat itself.

  4. That has been a thought going through my head for the last 10 years. I knew when I got my tattoo at 16 that one day it would become an issue. Well, here I am, 10 months from getting married and (hopefully!) only a couple years from children, and the massive tattoo that covers my lower abdomen (I'm talking hip to hip, top is an inch from my bb and I have to um, shave part of the bottom) is starting to cry when I look at it in the mirror. Why would you do that to me??? Why would you want to stretch me out??? I am soooooo glad to see (and hear) that it doesn't have to be distastrous…but like Tan'a, if I have a C-section…well, lets just say I hope they have a plastic surgeon in there too 🙂

  5. This is such an awesome article. I want to take it into the tattoo artist who did my last ones. I wanted two symmetrically on my stomach, and when I went to get a consult the first thing the guy said was, "Are you physically capable of having children?" I was shocked that he'd ask such a personal thing up front and even though I felt my privacy was invaded I answered yes because he'd come highly recommended from friends. At his urging I reconsidered the placement of the tattoos and went with something on the outer hip area but I still had a nagging feeling that I should have gone with what I wanted. Turns out I wasn't the only woman who he asked that of, my friend went to him for something in the same area and got the same treatment.

    Now I want to go get one in the area I wanted! Thanks for the encouragement that pregnancy doesn't "ruin" ink!

  6. Great article! I got a really intricate Philippine tribal tattoo that goes all around my back and waist and over my stomach a few years after I gave birth. (Partly to cover up my stretch marks) But I've been worried about it getting ruined if I ever decide to have another child. Your post helps me stay positive and you have beautiful ink!!

  7. great post. your tattoo looks great in the aftermath. I have been curious about this topic with my own pieces. I am hoping my nike of samothrace full back piece does well post pregnancy, it is a lot of gown draping so should just look a bit more "draped" as a worst case scenario.

  8. This is a great article, thanks for sharing! I have those same earrings in your post-pregnancy pic!

  9. we're considering another baba and I'm def going to get a nice belly tattoo afterwards. I feel a bit disconnected from my stretch marked wobbly mid section (now V different from how it looked pre-pregnancy and pre-csection). I need something to make it feel good again and fancy a large splash of stars swirling from lower left hip across my ruined belly and up under my right ribs.

    • Hey sweetie. I just have to say, you are a precious child of the universe and nothing about you is "ruined." You are just as you are meant to be.

  10. I have a tattoo on the side of my belly…my first tattoo (its truly awful) a tribal dragon (yuck) it did errr grow to some extent but seems to have bounced back.

    Although it does look a little more faded!

    I got away with no new stretchmarks..but my old ones from when I was a bit of a chubber are more noticeable, my section scar is very wonky though, it goes up a lot furthur on one side than the other!

  11. This is a great post. I have two tattoos on my lower stomach that I had a little concern about when we become pregnant.. It's good to know that for the most part they should return to normal after baby! 🙂

  12. Well this makes me very happy. I want to get a tattoo on my belly after I get my little guy out of there. I was wondering if there is a link to somewhere so that I could get my hands on the prenatal belly dancing video. It sounds like a lot of fun and I would love to try it while I have a hue belly to dance with.

  13. I really adore this post; I have several tattoos (and a few more on the way before our TTC turns me into a preggo-eggo) – and have constantly worried about the after-effects of pregnancy on body ink. As mentioned in the posting, it's a great reminder of the experience of becoming of mother (especially an offbeat one) – like a battle scar, but oh so-much better.

  14. I am interested as well to know about mamas who tattooed around their stretch marks post baby birth. I had a few stretch marks before getting pregnant which I wasn't too thrilled with. I know I'll have quite a few after the baby is born. I'd like something to camouflage and distract from them so that I'm not self conscious about them.

  15. Re Sweetpea: My man is a tattoo artist and he's done several covering up stretch marks. Of course it depends on the severity of them and if you can do something with an organic design to flow with them a bit more the better. But it's definitely possible!

    I have a tattoo way below my belly button and I got HUGE during pregnancy and the damn thing didn't change a bit. I ended up with a c-section and my OB made sure not to cut through it, although this was my first tattoo 15 years ago and can't stand it so I wouldn't mind if it had a huge scar right through the middle of it. 🙂

  16. thanks ladies this post really help me put my fears aside! i have flames from one side to the other all along the middle of my belly! so wish me luck! as i do all of you!

    • Good luck! I've loved this page. I have a very large tattoo as well, across both sides of my abdomen and around the back, and I have been so afraid of pregnancy… But I am deeply inspired.

  17. I suggested skin rolling. Skin rolling seperates the skin from the connective tissue underneath. I did my belly, no strech marks. I didn’t do my hips and upper thighs, strech mark city. Skin rolling is espically good for tattoos, anywhere on the body because the trama of getting them can cause sticking between the skin and fascia(connective tissue) layer. This can happen no matter how good your artist is. If its severe it can restrict muscle movement.

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